Jessa requested some seasonal decoration projects, so this week we have squishy (foam) pumpkins! I wanted to make something that they can keep and reuse every year, but of course you could paint small real pumpkins as well.
Here are some mini or Jack-Be-Little pumpkins displayed in my great-grandmother’s bread tray. They keep for months, are great to eat and make fun autumn decorations, either painted or left natural, as they are here.
But back to squishy pumpkins! There are many varieties of artificial foam pumpkins in hobby stores and online. You have to be a little careful of the type of paint you use with them. Some paints will not adhere well to foam products or crack and fall off when they dry. To avoid this problem, I bought a kit that included the paint: BEIGUO Paint Your Own Squishy Pumpkin.
There were pros and cons to this product.
- They are a cute size and shape and the texture of the foam is tactile and fun.
- The kit included paint (12 colors), two brushes (a small one and a medium one) and facial feature decals.
- The paint did adhere well to the pumpkins IF YOU STIR IT (it would have been helpful to have this included in some kind of instructions). At first it was beading up when we applied it, but we discovered that if you stir it, it works fine. It dries soft and does not crack off when you squeeze the pumpkins – at least not so far.
- The brushes were decent quality – unusual in kits like this.
- The kit contained no instructions and we needed them.
- We could not get the decals to stick to the pumpkins. They did, however, stick great to skin – like glue, still on a week later, had to use make-up remover to get them off : / If there had been instructions, there’s probably a way to get the decals to stick to the pumpkins, but two reasonably resourceful adults couldn’t figure it out, so thumbs down on the decals.
- The paint is in those tiny plastic pods, which I LOATHE, especially for little kids. It’s almost impossible to use them without tipping them over. I would have preferred fewer colors in larger containers.
Whether you buy a kit or assemble your own materials, you are going to need:
- Small pumpkins – artificial or real
- Paint that will adhere to the pumpkins
- Cup of water
- Paper Towels
- Cover for your work surface
- Painting smocks or aprons
- Cover your work surface and put on your smock or apron (or wear clothes you don’t mind staining) – this is a messy project
- Stir your paints (you can use the handle of the paintbrush or toothpicks)
- Paint the pumpkins in the colors of your choice and allow them to dry
- We just painted them, but you could also embellish with stickers, jewels, ribbons, etc. If you glue anything on, test your glue on an extra pumpkin first – some adhesives dissolve foam products. I have had good results with plain white glue, but test it first to be safe, or you can buy glues at the hobby store especially designed for use on foam.
I would suggest another selection from Outside Your Window, A First Book of Nature, by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Mike Hearld (Candlewick, 2012). This is a big book of poetry that I used for a previous lesson, but it is a big robust book – much larger than you need for just one sitting. The contents are arranged by season and the autumn section is particularly beautiful.
Although I had some complaints about the kit (okay, I was downright cranky about it), the resulting project was fun and the pumpkins look very cute. Kids do love to paint. My daughter describes Finn and Leo as “Painting Fiends” and they are always running out of paint. So, in spite of my grousing, it was a good project and one we would definitely do again.